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Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party holds convention aimed at constitutional revision

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Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party holds convention aimed at constitutional revision

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Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japan’s ruling party will gather today for discussions; proposed changes to the pacifist constitution are set to be the focus.

The LDP is set to agree, after months of wrangling, on how to amend Article Nine, which renounces Japan’s right to maintain a military. The debate within the LDP has centred on how dramatically the article should be overhauled, with some lawmakers arguing for the paragraph renouncing Japan’s military to be removed altogether. Instead, the revision is expected to more benignly enshrine Japan’s Self-Defence Force, sidestepping complaints that the force is unconstitutional.

Still, any revision of the constitution must pass both houses of the Diet with two-thirds approval, as well as a majority vote in a referendum. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, therefore, will need to negotiate with the LDP’s coalition partner, Komeito, which has long been opposed to amending Article Nine.

Even if the LDP and Komeito manage to pass the revisions through the Diet, Mr Abe could find his own waning popularity a major obstacle to achieving a referendum majority. The LDP may have to shelve its amendment plans until Abe’s approval picks up or, indeed, the prime minister is replaced.

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